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Posts tagged High Desert attractions

“PoemSmiths” Gain new Audience at First Fridays Event

On First Fridays when the Historic Apple Valley Inn opens its doors to open-air vendors, booths, walk-through visitors, and gallery viewers, you’ll often find different events at Hi Desert Book Oasis used bookstore.

Shoppers Concentrate on Book Sales

Shoppers Concentrate on Book Sales

This time, owners Donna and Allysa, hosted a poetry reading event to celebrate their third year of business.

Mary Langer Thompson leads PoemSmiths event

Mary Langer Thompson leads PoemSmiths event

Members of the newly-organized PoemSmiths gathered to read a variety of poems from each member. The PoemSmiths are a critique group sponsored by California Writers Club – High Desert Branch.

Mary addressing the group of poets

Mary addressing the group of poets

Elizabeth Pye shares a poem

Elizabeth Pye shares a poem

“There was so much interest in poetry that we branched out to share our poetry and support poets within the branch,” said Mary Langer Thompson. She’s also a former California Senior Poet Laureate, and retired English/poetry teacher. Break-out groups are common within the CWC organization.

Other featured poets were: Linda Boruff, Loralie Kay, J.P Newcomer, Rusty LaGrange, and Elizabeth Pye, and a guest reader, Davida Siwisa James.

A Personal Space is Prime for Poems

A Personal Space is Prime for Poems

Donna, the owner of the bookstore, often encourages different events in the bookstore: from book signings by local authors, to painting displays, poetry readings, and craft booths. But First Fridays remains the featured evening when shoppers can stroll the entire Apple Valley Inn complex to see what’s happening.

Rusty LaGrange

Take a Road Trip With High Desert Bloggers

Happy bloggers from across the valley met at Molly Brown’s Country Café near Helendale for  a terrific breakfast on Saturday. It was the first stop on our vintage-themed road trip. We know that bloggers tend to stay at home blogging but once in a while we just gotta get out and meet the others who we may have blogged with in the past.

 

High Desert Blogging friends meet at Molly Brown's Country Cafe

High Desert Blogging friends meet at Molly Brown’s Country Cafe

“What a great idea,” said Beverley, who was one of the bloggers arriving from San Bernardino. She was curious to learn more about the High Desert and getting out with her new blogging friends was just the thing she was looking for. “This way I also get to see some new areas that I never would have tried on my own.”

Main gate to the Bottle Tree Ranch on Route 66

Main gate to the Bottle Tree Ranch on Route 66

She joined Patty and Josef, Natalie and Joan, and Angie Horn, our High Desert Blogging creator and me, Rusty. Our road trips are a new feature that the HighDesertBlogging.com bloggers are enjoying for 2014. Sharing some creative ideas plus doing a bit of adventuring helps to develop more blogging focus. The exercise is good, too.

After breakfast we caravanned down the road to Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch, an odd feature along Route 66. Elmer’s been crafting iron tree shapes to hang discarded bottles on for more than 15 years.

Elmer greets the Bloggers -- a rare treat

Elmer greets the Bloggers — a rare treat

Each tree is a wonder of color, collectibles, and weathered antiques. Not one word can describe it — entertaining, whimsical, and recycled art — are a few that come to mind. You just have to see it to believe it. The Bottle Tree Ranch has been featured in numerous papers, magazines, and captured on countless video cameras from visitors around the world.

 

 

 

Recycling Wonder at Bottle Tree Ranch

Recycling Wonder at Bottle Tree Ranch

Our bloggers had a rare chance to meet him and ask a few questions. He was recently interviewed by an LA Times reporter. But you’ll read more about Elmer’s Ranch from our other bloggers. Keep checking back.

Since this was a road trip, we had to move on to our next stop at Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures. The roadside vintage store is outside as much as inside. Her crafty repurposed creations are clever, entertaining, and useful.

 

A nook full of chimes and wind catchers

A nook full of chimes and wind catchers

Patio kitsch, chimes, trunks, and re-imagined furniture cover the outside walkways that twist and turn. Inside, the little shop is “floor to ceiling” with Americana, handcrafted items, dolls, glassware, and ornamentals. It takes more than one visit to really “see” it. Enchanted Treasures has been featured on High Desert Blogging before but it’s a shop that changes with the seasons. Worth a stop.

Glass menagerie line shelves in a nook trailer at Linda Marie's

Glass menagerie line shelves in a nook trailer at Linda Marie’s

 

Our last vintage stop was the old-timer — Antique Station. It’s been an active antique store for many years. The old warehouse, L-shaped, building houses dozens of consignment nooks with different themes and collected items from various decades. A casual walk through time turns into extended hours of recalling historical events, childhood memories, and wishing that you had more money to spend. They do offer lay-away in some cases.

Our road trip came to an end but not our shopping time. Several of us stayed on to roam the entire building, others scouted the outside porches, while a few made their way home. We are now recharged with many blogging posting stories to share with you.

As we gain more guest bloggers and regulars on the site, the plan is to bring more benefits to bloggers. “We’ve updated some of the benefits for our group,” Angie noted. “Soon we’ll have memberships and discounts on services that bloggers and businesses will find in common.” Advertisers can extend their exposure to attract more customers and bloggers will be linking to other blogs through linking and marketing strategies.

Stay tuned for more road trips and inspiring stories to help your blogging become more creative and valuable to a wider readership.

Rusty LaGrange

Breakfast & Vintage Hunting on Route 66 – a Southern California Bloggers Day Trip

Enjoying a high desert sunrise

Get up with the sunrise and enjoy nature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

High Desert bloggers who enjoy vintage hunting,

blogging about fascinating finds, and eating breakfast

will not want to miss Breakfast & Vintage Hunting on

Route 66.

Enjoy a get-away-from-the-computer morning event planned by http://meetup.com/high-desert-bloggers.
Event schedule:

  • Saturday, February 22, 2014
  • Begin at 8:45 am at Molly Brown’s Country Cafe, 24949 National Trails Hwy, Helendale, CA
  • Visit nearby Bottle Tree Ranch
  • Visit nearby Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures
  • End at 12:00 Noon at Antique Station
Route 66 Bottle Tree Ranch

Get inspired for blogging a the Bottle Tree Ranch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vintage Shopping at Linda Marie's Enchanted Treasures

Find a vintage treasure at Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures, Oro Grande, CA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ve heard those stories from people who live close to famous places but never visit them? If you live close enough to Southern California’s Mojave high desert area and haven’t been to the places mentioned above, now is your chance to check them out.

Visiting Southern California from Afar?

Off-the-beaten-path and Route 66 sites are often interesting to travelers. Shopping at locally owned venues, markets, and businesses adds to the excitement of travel and adventure. Meet these friendly shop and arts and craft owners. You’ll go back home with one-of-a-kind artsy and vintage finds with unique stories to tell your friends.

Get Out and Do Something

What does getting away from the computer have to do with breakfast and vintage hunting? Ever sit too long and get a blood clot? Or stare at your computer with blog-block? You know, like writers block. You know you need to blog but can’t think of a thing to blog about. That’s when you know you need to get out and do something. Enjoy nature. Meet new people face to face. Interview them. Learn how they began their arts and crafts business. Find out what inspires them to operate a vintage business, a restaurant, a bottle tree ranch.

A couple of family members dear to me got blood clots. One passed away. One is still living and doing great. My experience has taught me that sitting immobile for too long without moving around, exercising, enjoying the outdoors, etc. is bad for my legs. Furthermore, my dear ones’ blood clot issues encouraged me to include more breaks away from blogging. I want to share opportunities with other bloggers to enjoy activities that they can also blog about. In fact, since the beginning of 2014 fellow boggers and I have been planning events to inspire bloggers and encourage them to stay active.

Join us for an early breakfast and vintage hunting on the famous Route 66 for the Southern California day trip scheduled for Saturday, February 22, 2014. Bloggers and traveling guests who are not from this high desert region can also enjoy the event activities. One of the advantages to arising early for breakfast is enjoying pink, orange, and yellow sunrises like the photo above. Such beauty only last for moments. The beauty can last in our memories, but it does help to keep a camera handy for such occasions. Email me at hdblogging@gmail.com for more information or if you want to join us for breakfast at Molly Brown’s Country Cafe as we begin the morning event.

Enter our February poetry contest for a chance to win a prize during this sweetheart month of celebrations.

Visit Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound blog today for more inspiration! 

3 Ways That YOU Can Make a Difference In the High Desert Today

Glass HeartThe High Desert is an amazing landscape filled with natural beauty, plentiful resources and caring citizens. While outsiders may not immediately grasp the desert’s allure, those of us who live here are well-acquainted with its distinct and attractive personality. Yet, despite all of the wonder that the Mojave has to offer, it is not without its areas in need of attention and improvement. I don’t mean areas strictly in terms of neighborhoods and zip codes either as individual members of our communities are in need of support and enlightenment too, which is why I’m so pleased to show you how we can all make a difference through three very worthwhile organizations representing faith, hope and love, today.

Faith Rainbow by xandert morgueFile1. FAITH

A strong vision has taken root in the Town of Apple Valley and its organizers place diligent faith in bringing it to pass. Perhaps you’ve seen the dilapidated abandoned house sitting alone on the top of Bass Hill just off of Highway 18 and have wondered about its history. You may have even longed to take a closer look like Daniel Harley can be seen doing in the video below. Regardless of your initial thoughts after recognizing the behemoth peering down upon the highway, you’ve undoubtedly also wondered about what will become of it in the future.

Well, a grass roots group has plans to reclaim Bass Hill in order to restore it to the heartbeat of the town that it once was. The Apple Valley Legacy Trail (AVLT) Endowment Fund aims to cultivate a hiking trail leading up to the property, which will include picnic areas and educational tours. Visitors may navigate the trail by foot or by horseback while enjoying the natural plant and wildlife along the way. The house itself will act as an observation deck, as it offers a spectacular 360 degree view of the desert. It will also feature historic memorabilia recounting the rich story of the Town of Apple Valley.

You can help make a difference by assisting the AVLT Endowment Fund via donation or volunteering in a myriad of other ways detailed on the group’s website. Always remember that faith requires action and yours is both welcomed and needed in order to bring this worthwhile vision to life.

Daniel Harley’s Hilltop House Video Courtesy of YouTube (MojaveDan)

Message Stones2. HOPE

In situations of family strife, hope often appears to be lost. In its absence depression, suicide and a variety of other social ills tend to prevail. When people come together to restore hope, however, they deserve to be both recognized and supported in their efforts. This is why I found it such a pleasure for the High Desert Bloggers to be situated right next to the Family Assistance Program at the RelyLocal Expo during the San Bernardino County Fair last weekend.

The Family Assistance Program exists to help individuals and families address a host of pressing issues such as domestic violence, housing threats, homelessness and others which often tear families apart while leaving individual members feeling lost, hurt and angry. The following is a sampling of the services that they provide under the main organization:

Domestic Violence Assistance

  • 24 Hour Hotline
  • Shelter and Transitional Housing Assistance
  • Support Groups and Counseling
  • Restraining Order Clinics
  • Bilingual Court Support
  • Teen Dating Classes
  • Art Classes Promoting Healing and Empowerment

Family Assistance Services

  • Counseling (individual and conjoint are both available)
  • Anger Management Classes
  • Parenting Classes
  • Supervised Visitation

As funds permit, the agency also offers rent and utility assistance to members of the community in need.

Special Services For Homeless Youth

This particular community based organization is also the first to open a shelter for homeless and runaway teens in San Bernardino county. Known as Our House, the shelter is located in Redlands and offers a safe harbor to young people between the ages of 11 and 17 years old who have runaway from home or who are homeless due to other circumstances. The primary goal of the shelter is to see families be restored whenever possible through supportive services beyond shelter which include counseling, goal-oriented workshops and case management.

LGBTQ Outreach Services

Another very worthwhile effort under the Family Assistance Program umbrella is the Giving Resources, Outreach, and Wellness Education (GROWE) Program which exists to increase awareness about the needs and challenges of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning (LGBTQ) community here in the HD. As teens who live outside of society’s established sexual norms often experience higher than average rates of depression, violence, bullying, substance abuse, homelessness and isolation, the GROWE program works to prevent all of these by providing resources and education to teens, their families and the community-at-large.

With boots on the ground and in the midst of some of the most dire circumstances families and individuals can face, the Family Assistance Program is a champion of hope. By offering resources, education and support, the agency tackles tough issues with optimism and strength. Volunteers and donations (monetary and in-kind) are always needed there, so if you believe that hope really can lead to change, please visit the Family Assistance Program’s website to learn how you can join forces with them to help it happen.

Loves Saves Lives by Kokabella at morgueFile3. LOVE

It takes a special individual to be so selfless as to open one’s home to children who are underprivileged and at-risk. Yet, this is precisely what Julie Wilson does through her Wagon Wheel Ranch Foundation. For several years now, Julie and her staff of volunteers have offered camping and a host of fun and educational events on her multi-acre ranch located in Hesperia.

The Wagon Wheel Ranch Foundation allows children to connect with nature through activities which include hiking, caring for animals and horseback riding. Other events and activities include western-themed barbecues, various arts and crafts, talent shows, roping lessons and horse shoe competitions. The foundation is also very well known for its annual Easter programs, which offer Bible-based activities and education in a naturally beautiful setting.

As the Wagon Wheel Ranch Foundation’s leader, Julie Wilson has managed to press through her own string of adversities in order to keep children in need as her first priority. In fact, during recent consecutive years Julie endured the loss of her mother, watching her husband suffer in the hospital following an horrific accident, her husband’s death, major structural damage at the ranch and a host of other trials that would have caused someone of a weaker spirit to give in. Yet, Julie persevered and, though she is still recovering financially and emotionally, her determination in seeing the ranch thrive in order that children in trouble may have a place of refuge fuels her on. This sort of sacrifice, dear readers, is true love in action.

To help keep the Wagon Wheel Ranch Foundation as a beacon of light for children in the High Desert, visit their website for information on volunteering, making a donation or becoming a sponsor. Specifically, the ranch is in need of people who can swing a hammer and who aren’t afraid of a little hard labor, as well as those who love to work with animals. As a non-profit organization, all monetary contributions are also tax-deductible.

A Little Bit of Faith, Hope and Love Can Make a Big Difference In the High Desert

I met leaders and representatives from each one of these groups while at the RelyLocal Expo discussed in my last post. Truly, it was a pleasure getting to know what each one stood for. An equal pleasure was had in preparing this post in order to urge everyone to invest in the faith, hope and love each one of these groups is infusing into the High Desert. While we’re all spread out across different cities, I believe that we are all a part of one very powerful community and together we can accomplish much.

Your Turn

The comments section is now all yours. Tell us, how will you choose to make a difference in your community today?

Spend Some Time at Your High Desert Museums

LUCERNE VALLEY OUTDOOR MUSEUM

 Our town enjoyed great weather and a number of events this last  weekend. From Motorcyle clubs raising funds for our local FFA students to Garden Club Plant Sales and a two-day Powwow, Lucerne Valley had everything going.

So my daughter, Chelsea, and I opened the Lucerne Valley Museum. We took advantage of the increased number of visitors in town to share our town’s outdoor collection. We counted 30 on Saturday and 19 on Sunday. Not bad for a venue of mining and agricultural equipment.

You see, we don’t have an indoor museum like most towns… we just haven’t been able to afford it. But whenever we can, we dust off the counters, sweep out the spider webs, and share our valley’s rich heritage with anyone passing by.

The Muller Family view displays from the porch

Some indoor displays with Chelsea LaGrange

We’ll be opening the Museum on a regular bases, once the weather cools off. Our tentative schedule may be the last Sunday of every month… if weather permits. We’ll post the hours here later. Entrance is free and families or groups may make  appointments to see the Museum by calling CSA 29 office 760-248-6048 or

760-248-6777.

Young Lucerne Valley Artists Win Museum Contest

 

Chelsea LaGrange, Rylee Giles (on lap) craft paper fans with Darlene Ralson at Museum Open House

Crafts & Games Draw Visitors to Museum’s Open House

Young Art Winners

Elementary school students, Mia Feucht won First Place and Kristen Cummings won runner-up in a Lucerne Valley art contest sponsored by Lucerne Valley Museum Association.

Recently, 47 artists’ entries were received for the First Annual Art Contest celebrating “National May Is Museum Month — Support Your Local Museum.” Artists from LV Elementary School’s third, fourth, and fifth grade classes, were encouraged to draw “Icons of the West.”

“On behalf of the LV Museum Association’s Board of Directors, congratulations go to Mia Feucht, age 8, from Mrs. Byrd’s third grade class,” announced Barbara LaGrange, president of the board. “She wins $25 cash and a one-year family membership, valued at $20 to LV Museum Association. The runner up is Kristen Cummings, age 11, from Mr. Deisler’s fifth grade class. She and her family receive a one-year family membership, valued at $20 to LV Museum Association.”

Lucerne Valley is 15 miles east of Apple Valley in the High Desert of southern California. Summer hours for the Outdoor Museum is by appointment only. Call Rusty at 760-248-6777 or CSA 29 office 760-248-7048.

 

photo credits: Rusty LaGrange

 

Rusty LaGrange

Get Your Kicks On Route 66

The signs along the roadway invited you to “Get Your Kicks
On Route 66“ and even though the signs are gone…well… you can still find the retro
signs for sale in High Desert vintage shops and museums along the 2,248 miles
of history.

Route 66 Museum, Victorville, CA

http://califrt66museum.org/

 

The Mother Road, as it is also called, was built when travelers first packed up their Packards
and went gallivanting across the wide-open country. Most of the original miles
were dirt. Eventually, as motorists wanted roadways that gave them a more
comfortable tour, it was completely paved from Santa Monica, California to
Chicago, Illinois in 1937.

 

In the 1950s, families reconnecting after WWII were eager to
hit the road again. This time in convertibles and the newfangled travel
trailer. Life was good. Though not everyone owned trailers. But to keep motorists happy, motor hotels sprang up along the route…. hence the name “Motel”.

 

With travelers and their children, they got hungry, so more
rest stops and restaurants provided an amazing variety of menus for their
starving numbers. Many of these services and amusements along Route 66 are gone
but if you check out websites like http://www.historic66.com/
  you’ll get the feel for finding it the way it was… wind in your face at a slower pace.

 

And, if we follow the snappy Route 66 song written by Bobby Troup,
you’ll be purchasing a road guide for Route 66 at a museum in San Bernardino,
Victorville or Barstow, and retracing the famous pavement across the southwest
states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, then up into the
Nation’s “Breadbasket” of Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois.

 

And here’s the lyrics:

 

If you ever plan to motor west,

travel my way, take the highway that’s the best.

Get your kicks on Route 66.

It winds from Chicago to LA,

more than two thousand miles all the way.

Get your kicks on Route 66.

Now you go through Saint Looey

Joplin, Missouri,

and Oklahoma City is mighty pretty.

You see Amarillo,

Gallup, New Mexico,

Flagstaff, Arizona.

Don’t forget Winona,

Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino.

Won’t you get hip to this timely tip:

when you make that California trip

Get your kicks on Route 66.

 

 

The California Route 66 Museum is located on D Street, between Fifth Street and Sixth Street, in the heart of Old Town Victorville, CA.

Rusty LaGrange

 

 

Best High Desert Hamburgers

Stop for a hamburger while you are Christmas shopping this week in the High Desert. Today I asked a few people who live in the High Desert the question, “What is your favorite hamburger place in the High Desert?” Here are the answers:

    • In N Out – 4 votes
    • Burger King – 1 vote
    • Red Robin – 1 vote (1 with blue cheese & onion strings)
    • McDonald’s – 1 vote
    • Richie’s Diner – 2 votes
    • Tom’s – 1 vote

Can you guess which votes came from the little people under ten years old? Send in your vote of your favorite High Desert hamburger place to High Desert Blogging. Add to the list if you don’t see your favorite.

HAPPY EATING HAMBURGERS!!

Riding the Range with The Keys

Desert Cowboys never made the  desert; the desert made them. Among the notable desert ranchers is William Keys. I had the privilege of riding with his great grandkids.

Bill Keys came to this area in  1910 to work as an assayer and watchman at the Desert Queen Mine. When its owner died, he received the mine and its 5-acre millsite in payment for back  wages. His five acres grew to 160 when he homesteaded adjacent property to  become his Desert Queen Ranch.

I consider him a “desert  rat”: one of those characters who strive on surviving and creating a code of ethics in an  inhospitable land. In this rock-rimmed canyon using ingenuity, patience, and  hard work, Bill built a life for himself. He soon married Frances May Lawton,  who left the comforts of the city to move to the Mojave Desert ranch and start  a family. The couple had seven children between 1919 and 1931, three who died during childhood.

Together the Keys family tackled the hardships of isolated desert life. Eventually, the Keys’ homestead included a ranch house, store, two school houses, a home for a teacher, outhouses, sheds, a stamp mill, a corral, supply yard, orchard, cement dam and lake, windmill, irrigation systems, rock retaining walls, and a cemetery. He raised a family and coped with the harsh realities of the desert. To the ranch, miners brought ore to be assayed, neighboring homesteaders brought their children to be educated, and countless visitors came to enjoy the family’s hospitality. Their old wooded-wheeled mining truck was frequently seen in 29 Palms at Pioneer day parades.

Keys’ ability to repair machines and household items often came in handy. Since the ranch site was far from town, the family rarely threw anything away that they might use to fix a broken item. Keys scavenged abandoned ranches and mines for rails, wire, pipes, household items, old cars, and tires left behind by less
successful people. He even purchased an entire junk yard and organized it into neat piles on the ranch to use as a supply yard.

Most of the surrounding homesteaders and miners viewed Keys’ ranch as the center of their desert network and its owner as a helpful friend. Miners appreciated his knowledge of mines in the area and his milling capabilities. Keys built a one-room school house for his children and others in the area to ensure they received a proper education despite their isolation. He provided the teacher with a cabin on the ranch. The family also hosted many visitors at the ranch including well-known writer Erle Stanley Gardner, and famous botanists Phillip Munz and Edmund Jaeger. Jaeger, while identifying new desert plant species, named a flower “Keysia” (Glyptopleura setulosa) in honor of the kindness the Keys family showed to so many desert travelers.

After Frances death in 1963, Bill sold the ranch to eventually become part of the Joshua Tree National Park. He remained on the ranch until his death on June 28, 1969. While the world outside the ranch had changed dramatically, Keys’ way of life had remained remarkably constant. He was buried beside his wife in the family cemetery to become part of the canyon he loved and labored for during 60 years of residence.

When I lived on the mesa in Pioneertown, the Keys extended family had settled in a deep canyon near Pipes Canyon. The ranch was earthy, low-slung and wood-heated most of the year. There were several out buildings and horse corrals near the main driveway. Once you got past the main wooden gate that was usually standing open, several dogs with Mrs. Keys came out and greeted you. Johnny Keys, up in his 60s at that time, was always a busy man.

His two daughters, Johnna and Debbie, were close enough to my age that we often went horseback riding up into the boulder-lined ravines. Up canyon, the piñon and juniper grew rich with their nuts and the scrub jays and quail often ran underbrush just ahead of us.

It was a great time to be out in the wild. Sometimes we’d go scout out new trails, other times when the heat got unbearable, we’d jump in a natural spring and soak our clothes to stay cool for the ride home. Johnna was the hell-raiser of our group, and loved to go skinny-dipping.

One time after a spring rain, we  had trailed a set of cougar prints into the upper ravine, and being adventurous, thought we might spook it out of the timberline. The desert holds traps for young adventurers. Debbie soon found out that the sandy arroyo near the rocks was not solid. Her horse panicked and began post-holing, leaping and bounding in the quicksand, eyes fearful, head flailing. It was a disastrous
situation.

I tossed a rope to her while  staying on my saddle. That rope provided just enough tension to help her horse seek a route out of the mire. She stayed on and coaxed him to the edge where he finally got solid footing.

We were all waiting, shaking, and watching the poor fellow shiver from the adrenaline rush. We all felt done in. Deb got off and wiped her mount down with her shirt to let him relax and cool off. It was awhile before we decided to head back and leave that cougar for another time.

+++++++++++++++++++

Note: 1917 Keys Cattle Brand is Capital B with stylized horizontal F sticking out of the center like a key in a lock.

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/106671199

Partial info retrieved from mural series in 29 Palms

http://www.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/65keys/65facts1.htm

Strange High Desert Attractions

It doesn’t take long for one to live in the High Desert to notice strange attractions. For instance, anyone who travels “up the hill” to Hesperia or Victorville surely has noticed that the traffic on the 15 slows down, sometimes to a crawl, between Glen Helen and Kenwood exits. You would think there must be an accident or a fire due to the traffic jam, but it’s just traffic. Slow traffic…25 mph, 35 mph, or even 45 mph on a good day. Looking up strange things about the High Desert, I discovered a blog about potty-trained horses in the Barstow area. That is strange and quite comical to me. Curious about this horse potty training, I searched for more information and found a horse-help website where a reader had asked about horse potty problems. The horse trainer recommended natural behavior for horses and indicated that artificial behavior could cause neurotic behavior and physical problems. Personally, I’m not affected by whether a horse is potty trained or not. However, I do find the subject fascinating – and strange.

A common, yet strange, phenomenon of the High Desert is the Joshua tree. I don’t remember ever seeing one of these trees before I ever visited the High Desert. In East and Southeast Texas where I grew up we have tall pine, oak, sweetgum, and other trees. If a Joshua tree could thrive in that part of Texas that normally gets plenty of rain, surely it would take on a different form. Observe the Joshua trees and their odd forms. The strangest ones are the ones that are bent over as if they’re stretching for exercise. Some look like odd cartoon figures and others like ghost-like characters dressed for Halloween.

 

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